(Closed) crate training and how abusive it can be. please help

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
3170 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Why is she going to the bathroom in the house? She should be trained to go outside and that shouldn’t take too long. Is that why she is sleeping in her crate? I see that as the only problem. I crate my dogs while I’m at work and they are fine in it. It takes time though, one of our dogs hated his kennel for a long time but finally got used to it. If you are serious about helping this dog then you’ll need to take her out every single time she starts sniffing, walking around like she needs to go, squating. It’s exausting but so worth it. And the reward her for going out.

Is she going potty in the crate as well? If so, make sure you have the right size crate. Dogs don’t need a lot of extra space in there kennels.

Post # 4
9145 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

It sounds like she is spending way too much time in the crate and it’s stressing her out.  It sounds like your dad isn’t interested in training the dog so he’s out.  And you and your mom are over it.

Time for a do-over.  Someone needs to take a few days off work to bond with this dog and properly crate train for a few days.  The dog should not be using the crate to pee and poo but since it was a puppy mill dog that is what it has been trained to do.

Make sure you are using a plastic crate and the smallest that she can fit in; the idea is that if she messes in her crate she will stuck sitting/laying in it until it gets cleaned up.  if the crate you currently have fits this then bleach it out really good ASAP so it doesn’t small like her pee and poo.

Do not use a crate for punishment, EVER.  When she messes in the house take her immediately outside and encourage her to finish outside.  Move some of her poo outside so she can see and small it and know that is where she is supposed to do her business.

When she comes out of the crate she needs to go immediately outside and not let back in until she does her business.  This takes time.  If she doesn’t go after 15-20 minutes then take her back inside and put her back in the crate for a period of time; then take her back out of the crate and immediately outside.  Have treats on hand to feed her when she does her business outside.

Use a 6 ft or shorter leash to leash her to your side the entire time you are home and she is out.  It make sit more likely that you will notice her looking for a place to do her business and give you time to get her outside.

If you truly do not want the responsibility and are ready to give up contact local rescue groups to see if one will take her.  House training is difficult and there will be accidents but you have to be completely committed to it for it to work.

Post # 5
251 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@outgoingcutie15:  Puppies bang and cry and whine when they are in the crate because they are puppies and want to be with you. I crate trained both of my dogs. i have an almost 2 year old Siberian Husky and a 6 month old mix. They won’t go to the bathroom in the crate if it is the right size for them. It should be kind of tight but not too small, the pet store can probably help you pick one out. What we did was let them out of the crate and go directly outside to go potty. If they did that then they got a treat. Then it was playtime for about an hour or so and then back in the crate. Until they got a little older and lerned to hold their bladders and bowels. Now my husky is never in the crate unless my husband and i are going to be gone for a few hours. She thinks of the crate like her den and goes in and out whenever she wants to. Our little mix hates his crate and will bark and whine and cry and run away when you try to put him in it. He needs to be crated a little more but eventually will be let out all the time. 

Some people hate crate training, I am a big fan of it. It helps. Especially when we have people over, my little guy jumps up so sometimes if someone is coming to work in the house it is easier to crate him. 

Don’t use the crate as punnishment though, thats a big no no. If they do something wrong you need a trigger word not just throwing them into the crate. Thats how they start to resent the crate.


Thia has just been my experience.

Post # 6
9145 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Or if you have the space in your backyard, can you dog-proof it and allow her to be a part time outside dog?

Post # 7
13101 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

Crate training isn’t abusive.  Plenty of dogs spend the workday in a crate and then sleep there at night and are happy, beloved, well-taken-care-of pets.

First, you need to work on house breaking this dog and crates are great for that because, if the dog is in the right sized crate, they won’t poop or pee in it because then they won’t have space to lay down (without laying in their own mess).  When they come out of the crate, they go directly outside to use the bathroom and get treats and lots of praise when they do.  Then they can have playtime with much lowered odds of them having an accident.

Basically, if a dog isn’t trustworthy to be left around the house by themselves (because they go to the bathroom, chew stuff up, etc) than a crate is the best place for them to be.  It helps keep them out of trouble.

If you are consistent, overtime the dog will begin to think of the crate as its safe haven and may even go there on its own accord just to “chill”.  Unless you are sticking the dog in the crate as punishment, it isn’t abusive to use crate training.

Post # 8
1671 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I used a crate for a while but I felt bad leaving her in there all day. I now use a litter box with puppy pads in it. With her crate, if she has an accident she goes in the crate but otherwise I leave her out and she uses her litter box.

For a while I used a play pen like this:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11811541&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo’ defer=’defer

But she wound up not peeing on the pad but all over and it soaked through and it was a mess.

Then I switched to one like this:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10939499&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo’ defer=’defer

To cover the floor I used 2 mats like this:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10928020&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo’ defer=’defer

Underneath the mats I put trash bags and potty pads nicely down so that you couldn’t see them. Then I put one potty pad in the corner of the play pen with her crate on the other side. She would sleep in her crate and pee on the pad. She would have accidents I would clean the mats and replace the stuff underneath. It took about 3 months but then I switched the top potty pad into the litter box. Now she doesn’t need the play pen at all.


Post # 9
11177 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@outgoingcutie15:  What is this dog’s feeding schedule? They should not be free feeding as that encourages indoor accidents.

We had issues with accidents until we set a very strict food schedule of breakfast at 8:30 am and dinner at 8:30 pm. My dogs poop on schedule and we let them out to pee every couple of hours while they are awake (they sleep all night).

Another thing to consider is the dog’s age. If she is only a year old she still needs time to mature and learn. My dogs didn’t really become 100% house trained until about two going on three, smaller dogs just take more work.

We crate our dogs while we are at work and they love it. It is not abusive in the least and provides them with a safe and comfortable environment together, plus the crate is enormous to where I can fit inside (they are poms). They are out from the moment we get home around 5:30 pm until I leave for work the next day (9:00 am).


Post # 10
7978 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Does she go into the crate willingly? I only ask because you said she was a mill dog…lots of times they will have major issues with crates because they were kept confined in horrendous conditions.

Does she potty in the crate? Does she potty in the house while you’re home?

I’d recommend getting an xpen or one of the plastic type pens to keep her in during the day. That way at least she can move around a little bit and you can keep it on an easy to clean floor area in case she does have an accident.

Post # 11
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

If she’s not housebroken (and puppy mill dogs usually aren’t), you or one of your parents needs to be making sure she gets frequent, regular potty breaks to establish a healthy routine.  Simply crating her is probably not going to prevent accidents…and even healthy, house trained dogs shouldn’t be expected to “hold it” for more than 8-9 hours at a stretch during the day.  You also can’t expect her to settle in her crate without adequate exercise…even a small dog needs about an hour of walks/playtime every day, plusplenty of  time spent out of the crate bonding with you (grooming, feeding, training, etc.).  If you’re not able to adjust your schedules to accommodate those two things, I’m afraid you’re not prepared to care for this dog.

Post # 12
1278 posts
Bumble bee

I am glad that you recognize that this is not good. A dog should never be crated 24 hours! Never ever ever ever!!! A crate is a safe good place that should only be used to housetrain the dog. I don’t understand why your parents would get a dog that had issues? They need to understand that and work with the dog because it is now their responsiblity.

The above posters have good advice about setting a schedule but quite frankly this dog will need more attention than you are giving it.

Again do not crate for that long! It is cruelty!

Post # 14
2352 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@beachbride1216:   +1

I want to add that I’ve worked for a very successful veterinary clinic and this is exactly what is recommended for crate training. Smallest crate possible and enlarge the crate only as the puppy significantly outgrows it. The NUMBER ONE THING IS CONSISTENCY. Everyone who lives in the house must be on the same page with crate training. During this phase, if someone’s eyes r not on the dog constantly, the dog should be in crate. Going to cook or to the restroom or leaving the dogs sight for just a minute gives the dog enough time to run behind a chair and sneak his business there. As soon as one person accidentally lets him or her have an accident, the dog can get confused about whrre he is allowed to go. and then its alot harder to retrain. Use positive reinforcement for desired behaviors(clap lightly, squeal, make as big a fuss as u want in a pleasant high pitched voice, use his name, give him one small treat and playtime immediately)….and loud, stern voices saying NONO! for corrective negative reinforcement. Used properly and consistently, crate training should only take a couple of weeks. It is not cruel to crate a dog for purposes of crate training. In nature, a wild pack of dogs will use small caves or burrows for security, so its instinctive and natural to spend time in a small enclosure. be warned: some ppl will disagree. If the dog is adult (over 1yr old), he should have strong enough bladder muscles to hold most of the day depending on his breed, i.e. how big he is. He certainly should be able to hold overnight by that age.

On a side note, same goes for when he barks and whines to be let out soon after being crated, especially for the night. Once he learns his noises allow him to get his way, and it only takes a time or two, u can have a dog on ur hands who will be noisy in situations like that for the rest of his life. Again, CONSISTENCY and neg and pos reinforcement teaches animals desired behaviors and can eliminate negative ones. I’ve seen it work over and over, as well as with my own dogs and I’ve even trained my cat using such consistent training. Be the boss!

Eta: submissive peeing (peeing upon excitement of greeting u) means u should try to stop making a big deal out of greeting him when u get home. Just ignore him except to put him out and he will eventually learn that he does not have to pee to show u he respects u.

Post # 15
2903 posts
Sugar bee

The amount of time (as long as it isn’t 24/7) your dog is in a crate isn’t nearly as important as the reasons that your dog is in the crate and what she is doing in her time outside of it.

In regard to reasons: You should NEVER use the crate for punishment. It should only be a safe place for your dog. If she can’t be trusted to behave out of the crate, she needs to be inside of it. But you must do this delicately. For instance: if she pees on the floor and you yell at her and then stuff her in the crate, she will of course hate the crate and never get comfortable with it. Having your dog in a crate for 20 hours is a bit much, but can be done if you are doing things with her in her hours off. After all, depending on her breed and activity level, she may sleep 20 hours a day naturally and might as well do it in the crate.

As for her time outside of the crate: This should all be dedicated to training, exercising and playing with your dog and building a positive bond. If she spends that much time in the crate, she needs to work her mental and physical energy off. Teach her new tricks and take her running, play fetch and tug and silly games. Make her REALLY tired so she doesn’t mind going back in the crate. Also, break up the time that she is in the crate so she doesn’t wake up bored and get distructive because it has been 4+ hours.

Is she peeing in the crate? If so, you should go back to puppy potty training 101. Act like she basically doesn’t have a bladder and needs to go out every 1-2 hours. Like a PP said, take her out, don’t let her sniff around or play until she goes, reward when she does and then go play with her. If she doesn’t within 10-15 min, put her back in the crate and try again in 30-60 minutes. Play and train hard, try for another potty break and put her back in the crate and start all over again the next hour.

If you and your family can’t commit to that, and you can’t reduce the amount of time she is in the crate because you and your family can’t do what is right by her, you need to find another good home for her to live with someone who can give her the huge amounts of time she needs.

Also, just food for thought. You might want to mention to your mom that if she put the amount of time cleaning up after the dog into building a relationship with her 10-15 minutes a day, she might get much better results. 

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